Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Higgs Live!

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  • Islander, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    ah, I admit that metaphor needs significant plastic surgery. More apt aphorisms welcomed. Just how freaking awesome is the Hogg’s Bison?

    Report

    When it's coralled from the wild and me & mine can stroke it gently & welcome it into our 5-dimensional tepee-without wanting to skin or eat it -I'll know we have grown up as a species!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Well, this conversation is taking an weird and thoroughly delightful turn.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Never heard of Hogg's Bison. Did they discover it at Fermilab?

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jake Pollock,

    Awwww!
    They got a real herd of them dang things!

    Act-u-ally, I find that really human/humane-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Steve Parks,

    Sorry to be pedantic, but the correct spelling is Higgs boson. Capital ‘H’ for the ‘Higgs’ of Peter Higgs, one of the first to suggest its existence. Small ‘b’ for boson, which is just a type of particle.

    Don't tell the Indians that. Boson is named after Satyendra Nath Bose.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/07/04/indians-irked-their-scientist-forgotten-in-higgs-boson-drama/

    http://io9.com/5890884/10-weird-stories-about-the-higgs-boson

    6. The term "boson" comes from the name of Indian physicist and mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose
    Particles come in two varieties: bosons and fermions. The Higgs particle falls into the category of bosons, named for a physicist best known for his collaborations in the 1920s with Albert Einstein. Some of the pair's work resulted in the invention of Bose-Einstein statistics, a way to describe the behavior of a class of particles that now shares Bose's name. Two bosons with identical properties can be in the same place at the same time, but two fermions cannot. This is why photons, which are bosons, can travel together in concentrated laser beams. But electrons, which are fermions, must stay away from each other, which explains why electrons must reside in separate orbits in atoms. Bose never received a doctorate, nor was he awarded a Nobel Prize for his work, though the Nobel committee recognized other scientists for research related to the concepts he developed.

    Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Speaking of the Higgs, there is a free public lecture at the University of Auckland on July 12, 6:30pm, by Prof Mark Kruse (Duke University), who works on the ATLAS collaboration.

    http://www.physics.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/home/events/template/event_item.jsp?cid=495704

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • richard, in reply to BenWilson,

    Just discovering the Higgs does not directly change our current picture of the evolving universe, but it gives us lots of new questions to ask, and sharpens some of the old ones.

    In particular, this is the first time we have discovered a spinless (which autocorrect just turned to “spineless”) and apparently fundamental particle. These particles (or, more accurately, the fields associated with these particles) play a key role in cosmology because they can have negative pressure, and negative pressure (think rubber bands, as opposed to a tank of gas) can cause the expansion rate of the universe to accelerate (long story, but trust me).

    And the universe is accelerating today, and also apparently underwent a phase of acceleration in the very universe, just after the big bang. And we would like to know WHY (and HOW) this happens.

    Just seeing the Higgs does not solve these riddles, but it does make cosmologists feel much better about building theories with spinless fields in them,

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I don't worry about how poorly good scientists present using quarky fonts like comic sans, but it scares the shit out of me watching a not so good scientist do a presentation with a really cool presentation.

    It is those that get the ear of the managers and the marketers. Regrettably they are usually the type who "want to go far". Utterly regrettably......they usually end up doing so.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Reminds me of the preachers who get their own TV shows, or form break away churches.

    Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to richard,

    Just seeing the Higgs does not solve these riddles, but it does make cosmologists feel much better about building theories with spinless fields in them,

    Thanks richard. Who knows where such theories might lead? The picture could change, phenomena could be discovered. Sounds like it's opening possibilities up, rather than closing them down - that sounds exciting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2033 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    You too can sign the petition to ask Microsoft to Rename the font 'Comic Sans' to 'Comic Cerns' in the Windows 8 OS and make it the default font for all scientific presentations.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    Escargot cults...

    Imagine snails working out how to predict lunar eclipses.

    Who says they haven't?
    I wonder how much they'd shell out for such research?
    To be fair, they have been using Fibonacci sequences to put a roof over their heads for millennia...

    Dark musings....
    Now they can concentrate on dark matter and energy - perhaps an anti-particle that is all spin and no mass (much like Parliament) is out there... and to keep the supersymmetry and nomenclature relative the dark equivalent of Higgs' boson should be called Black Pete!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but I am still quite keen on the idea of cold fusion.

    Substantial progress has been made in this field albeit under the guise of the rebranded initialism LENR. Nasa scientists, no less have been trumpeting recent breakthroughs:

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    Regarding the near certain discovery of the Higgs boson – little known fact:

    Texan farmer Jethro Nedreck claims that he was the first to discover it back in the 1950s when he cross-bred one of his hogs with a bison.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Ross Mason,

    but it scares the shit out of me watching a not so good scientist do a presentation with a really cool presentation.

    It is those that get the ear of the managers and the marketers.

    and in the ears of the politicians

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    but it scares the shit out of me watching a not so good scientist do a presentation with a really cool presentation.

    It is those that get the ear of the managers and the marketers.

    and in the ears of the politicians

    Doesn't that suggest that it's in the interests of good scientists to communicate effectively?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Are there many presentational rockstars at serious conferences? And how are they regarded?

    I've been thinking about this. And I'm still not sure I know the answer. Yes there are some people who really do "give a good talk" but that isn't quite the same as being presentational rockstars.

    Kary Mullis (Nobel for PCR) gave a riveting talk for 2 hours on how HIV hasn't been proven to cause AIDS. Without a single visual aid.

    I also have absolutely vivid memories of seeing videos showing how auxin (a plant hormone) moves in the little cluster of cells at the top of the plant that subsequently grow out into everything you see. But I'm not sure the rest of the talk was a masterpiece of presentation.

    When we say "gives a good talk" we are generally combining content with presentation in the evaluation.

    Basically the talks that have stayed with me have done so because of the data not the presentation.

    That said I have come out of a talk and said to friends "that is how NOT to present that data" and yet still been impressed by the data.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Doesn’t that suggest that it’s in the interests of good scientists to communicate effectively?

    Sure. I do get the value of being good at presentation. But if I get money for another FTE I'm going to spend it on a tech or scientist who can generate more data not on someone who can make the presentation pretty.

    If I had enough money (snort) yeah I'd consider spending some of it on getting support for improving presentations. The problem is that you frequently end up with a burgeoning marketing group that spends more time on new business logos and rebranding the institute than helping scientists make their talks just a bit better.

    Should scientist get to go on courses that teach them how to use the tools better?Sure. But if I only get to travel overseas to one conference in 5 years I'm damn well not going to a photoshop course!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Doesn’t that suggest that it’s in the interests of good scientists to communicate effectively?

    It's worth noting that what you guys all assume is an easy thing, that is, seeing how a presentation could be made better, just isn't that easy for some people. It really doesn't come naturally to some people who are in other areas very talented.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If I had enough money (snort) yeah I’d consider spending some of it on getting support for improving presentations. The problem is that you frequently end up with a burgeoning marketing group that spends more time on new business logos and rebranding the institute than helping scientists make their talks just a bit better.

    And that's perhaps the nub of the problem. Money goes on marketing rather than actual technical skills.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Money goes on marketing rather than actual technical skills.

    But that’s what marketing folks are trained to do. It’s hard to blame them. they know how to make a logo, that’s easy. That have no idea how to retain the scientific content in a poster while making it look good, for them that’s hard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I also have absolutely vivid memories of seeing videos showing how auxin (a plant hormone) moves in the little cluster of cells at the top of the plant that subsequently grow out into everything you see.

    But auxin is amazing! You could fascinate people over auxin in a bar with a pencil and a napkin.

    ETA: By 'napkin' I obviously mean 'serviette'. I dunno WTF is happening to my class roots.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Doesn't that suggest that it's in the interests of good scientists to communicate effectively?

    Yes. But understand. The "unpresenters" would say: "My talk was understandable to my peers. I find that sufficient for me."

    I DO have to tell you we have some "Presentation Skills" seminars doing the rounds at the moment. ;-)

    Bart mentions talks he has been to. That is not the problem with the "Comics of Cern". It is the non science folk (and reporters) who are watching and trying to understand - and probably having a little difficulty given the questions asked at the news conference along the lines of "What should I write about this event in my paper?" - thus they concentrate on the how rather than the what.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Scott Chris,

    a pig in a poke...

    Texan farmer Jethro Nedreck claims that he was the first to discover it back in the 1950s when he cross-bred one of his hogs with a bison.

    I thought that recently this had proved to be merely a Bluffalo...
    "- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

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